Are Cell Phones Changing Our Brains?

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The first handheld cellphone call was made 50 years ago, and since then these devices have become an essential multi-tool that helps us run our lives. But are they also altering the way our brains work?

One recent report found that adults in the US check their phones, on average, 344 times a day – once every four minutes – and spend almost three hours a day on their devices in total. The problem for many of us is that one quick phone-related task leads to a quick check of our email or social media feeds, and suddenly we’ve been sucked into endless scrolling.

‘s a vicious circle. The more useful our phones become, the more we use them. The more we use them, the more we lay neural pathways in our brains that lead to pick up our phones for whatever task is at hand – and the more we feel an urge to check our phone even when we don’t have to. Worries about specific aspects of our hyperconnected world – like social media and its increasingly hyper-realistic beauty filters – aside, what is our reliance on these devices doing to our brains? Is it all bad for us, or are there also some upsides?

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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!